Manufactured Home Buying Tips

Dated: 01/21/2016

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Manufactured Home Buying Tips

The United States Census Bureau calculated the average price per square foot for a manufactured home in 2012 to be $41.97.

Maybe it time to say a bundle.  Compare that to the $86.30 per square foot for a traditional stick built home and you'll see why the homes are such a great choice.  

Buying a manufactured home is a great option for anyone wanting a custom home at an affordable price. 

Once you have made the decision to purchase a new home, the next step will be choosing the builder. There are approximately 70 builders in the US, offering more than 300 different models. You will want to be especially careful to notate the parent company of the builders. Mergers and acquisitions are a regular occurrence in the manufactured home industry.

manufactured-home-purchase.jpg - Mobile Retreat

28 Terms Every Manufactured Home Buyer Should Know

When buying or financing a manufactured home you will encounter many terms and abbreviations that will be used in both conversation and on the contracts. 

Knowing what the terms mean can help you better understand the process and gain an upper hand in negotiations.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR )

The APR is the yearly interest rate or cost of a loan.

Base Price

The selling price of a home before any upgrades are added.

Don’t confuse this with the invoice price that has the upgrades added.

Chattel Loans

Chattel loans are defined as loans made on movable items such as an automobile, a computer, or a manufactured home.


The act of convincing a home buyer to sign the sales agreement. Some dealers want to close the sale on the buyer’s first visit.

A consumer should never sign anything until they have researched at least 3 different dealers and shopped for financing.


An employee at a dealership whose exceptionally talented in persuasion and whose only job is to convince the home buyer to sign the sales agreement.

Consumer Deposit

Usually 5-10% of the home’s price that is paid before the home is order or at the time the contract is signed.

Data Plate

A document that provides detailed construction information about the home. Usually located in a kitchen cabinet.  

Display Model

A home on the dealers lot. It is usually sold at a reduced price.


A third party holds payment until all conditions of an agreement is met.


The ending value of the home after subtracting the payoff from the total amount financed

Finance Charge

The interest and fees charged on a financed home.


The abbreviation for finance and insurance.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A loan with an interest rate that never changes. Your payments will be the same amount through the life of the loan.

Floor Planning or Flooring

The homes on a dealerships lot are owned by a bank or financial institution and not the dealer.

Gross Back End

Profit the dealership makes when a buyer finances and adds insurance to the payment plan. It is recommended that you keep insurance separate from financing.

Gross Front End

The total profit the dealer will make from the sale of the home.


The Bureau of Housing and Urban Development

HUD Code

Refers to the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards

Kickback, Hold Back, or VIP Money

The amount that the builder automatically adds to a manufactured homes invoice to ensure the dealer will receive a minimum profit. It is often hidden from the consumer.

Land Package

A manufactured home and land bought together, often financed in with one loan. Setup and installation are usually included.

Letter of Commitment

A letter from a financial institution agreeing to loan a set amount for a specific home or property. It’s advisable that a buyer get their own financing before shopping for a home.

Options /Features/Upgrades

Amenities added to the home at the buyers request. Also known as upgrades. Be weary of some upgrades.


The amount that a dealer pays a contractor or crew to have the home transported and installed. Watch for markups on this amount.

Payment Buyers

A potential home buyer that is mostly concerned with the monthly payment amount and not the total price or the length of the finance plan. Don't be a payment buyer!


Columns of concrete blocks or metal supports that are spaced equally under the home for support.

Purchase Agreement

An agreement detailing the terms and conditions of a manufactured home purchase. Do not sign this contract unless you understand everything completely and never sign anything that will be filled in later.

Site Improvements

Land modifications needed to prepare the space for a home to be placed.

Upside Down

When an owner owes more than the value of the home. This occurs often when buyers add extras to the financing such as insurance and taxes.

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Larry Orchard

My wife and I Pastor The Potters House Christian Fellowship Church in Croswell Michigan, husband and father of a loving family. That is my calling and vocation. As for my occupation it is a great ple....

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